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Free Jazz at the Sanctuary presents Fay Victor Ensemble

April 26, 2008 @ 8:00 pm 10:30 pm EDT

The Fay Victor Ensemble uses vocal jazz tradition as a basis for improvising in the sense of Ornette Coleman/late Coltrane and beyond, held in check by a healthy earthy soulfulness expressed through a focused set of originals that offer taut construction and witty lyrics. Featuring Fay Victor, vocals; Anders Nilsson, guitar; Ken Filiano, bass; Michael “TA” Thompson, drums.

Co-sponsored by the Department of the Arts at RPI, made possible in part by the NYS Music Fund and the Performance program at the NYS Council on the Arts.

* More Documentation Below

More About the Fay Victor Ensemble:

Fay Victor is the rare singer who can instill silence and focused attention into an audience, and she commands infectious joy and occasionally raucous energy whenever she performs. Ms. Victor, armed with great communicative powers, in charge of a full-tilt band, resulting in something that Betty Carter might have done, had she grown up in the seventies. Her new release Cartwheels through the Cosmos on the Artist share label is easily the consummate outing of her career, bringing together in one concise package: the vocal jazz tradition as a basis for improvising in the sense of Ornette Coleman/late Coltrane and beyond, held in check by a healthy earthy soulfulness expressed through a focused set of originals that offer taut construction and witty lyrics.

Ms. Victor started her first band “Venus” at the tender age of 9. For this outfit consisting of neighborhood girlfriends, the precocious preteen wrote the songs, and lead the band with a firm hand while belting out its anthem – Venusized. In the early 90’s Victor found herself back in NYC with a minor dance hit under her belt as vocalist/co-writer (“You make me happy”, with producer David Anthony), and a budding career as a jazz vocalist in the traditional standards vein.

During an eight-year stay in Europe, Ms. Victor made the transition from singer of standards to the unique vocal artist she has become today. She expanded her musical interests into musical areas not commonly associated with jazz singing, from rock and blues (Jimi Hendrix, Howlin Wolf) to avant garde jazz (Eric Dolphy, Ornette Coleman) and modern classical (Charles Ives, Olivier Messiaen). 1998’s “In My Own Room” still featured a selection of sparsely arranged standards in a Carmen McRae influenced vocal style, be it with an added warmth and loose style of phrasing all of Victor’s own. But 2001’s Darker than Blue and 2004’s Lazy Old Sun offered more advanced material, with more and more self-penned tunes trickling through the standards and progressively far-fetched covers. JazzTimes called her a “real find, a true original,” and Dusted’s Derek Taylor hit the nail on the head with his assessment that is she’s “ a vocalist imbued with the best elements of past matriarchs like Abbey Lincoln and Betty Carter with an ear tilted towards Euro-improv innovations.”

Fay Victor has appeared at venues/festivals including the Bowery Poetry Cub, The Stone, Zebulon, Galapagos Art Space, Barbes, CBGB’s, Cornelia Street Café, Tonic, the 55 Bar, The HOWL Festival and the River to River Festival. Ms. Victor has performed with such notables as Lawrence “Butch” Morris, Misha Mengelberg, Gary Lucas, Michael Moore and Steve Coleman.

Anders Nilsson – guitar A bandleader in his own right, Anders Nilsson heads up Swedish-based improv-rock-jazz outfit, Aorta and he has had two recording with the band on the Swedish based-Kopasetic Label. Blood, released in 2004 and the sophomore effort Janus was released in 2005. Currently Anders is teaching, performing and writing for Aorta. Anders Nilsson grew up in Eslöv, Sweden and early on joined a rock band. He studied Jazz studies at Malmö Academy of Music. In 2002, he moved to New York City and since then he’s earned a Master of Jazz Studies at City College of New York. Anders has played with musicians including Kermit Driscoll, Sabir Mateen, Ken Filiano, Michael Evans, Raoul Björkenheim, Ras Moshe, Daniel Carter and Matt Lavelle, amongst others. He has composed film music and collaborated with dancers and is a member of Sebastian Schunke’s Orchestra (Berlin).

Ken Filiano – double bass, effects Noted for his accomplishments in jazz, spontaneous improvisation, classical, and inter-disciplinary performance with dance and spoken word, Ken Filiano fuses the rich traditions of the double bass with his own seemingly limitless, often astonishing, inventiveness. Ken leads two groups for which he also composes: a quartet with Michael Attias, Tony Malaby, and Michael T.A. Thompson, and a quintet with Attias, Jackson Krall, Steve Swell, and Tomas Ulrich. His prolific output also includes performances and/or recordings with Roy Campbell, Nels Cline, Ted Dunbar, Bob Feldman, Georgian Chamber Orchestra, Dennis Gonzalez, Vinny Golia, Lou Grassi, Hayes Greenfield, Phil Haynes, Fred Hess, Jason Hwang, Joseph Jarman, Sheila Jordan (with the Aardvark Orchestra), Raul Juarena, Joe Labarbera, Joelle Leandre, Frank London, Manhattan Chamber Orchestra, Tina Marsh, Warne Marsh, Bob Meyer, Dom Minasi, Hafez Modirzadeh, Butch Morris, Barre Phillips, Roberta Piket, Don Preston, Bob Rodriguez, Roswell Rudd, ROVA Saxophone Quartet, Ursel Schlicht, Paul Smoker, Chris Sullivan, Peeter Uuskyla, Biggi Vinkeloe, Kenny Wessel, Andrea Wolper, Pablo Ziegler. Ken has also been a guest lecturer, performer, and workshop leader at the Actor’s Institute of New York, San Francisco State University, UCLA, Centro de Arte Moderna (Lisbon), and at Rutgers University, where he received his Master’s Degree.

Michael TA Thompson – drums Drummer/Percussionist Michael Thompson is an anomaly. You might find him in the company of a wide variety of musical artists which include Joe McPhee, John Stubblefield, Henry Grimes, Daniel Carter, Alex Foster, Roy Campbell Jr., Matthew Shipp, Uri Caine, John Patitucci, William Parker, Harvie Swartz, Barbara Sfraga, Mala Waldron; legendary Calypsonians The Mighty Sparrow, The Shadow, Becket; reggae artist Owen Gray. He has also played with Pauline Oliveros, and Deep Listening Music. He has recorded for television including shows such as Blues Clues (Nickelodeon), commercials and film scores.


“It’s a borderless, cacophonous, in-your-face experiment in tone poetry and free-form expression. It’s tough. It’s gutsy. It’s brilliant.” –Christopher Loudon, JazzTimes

“Complex, ambitious record…we can add Victor to the Betty Carter family of jazz singers, if we could find anyone else to fill out a family.” (A-) –Tom Hull, Village Voice

“…actually stretches the definition of jazz vocals” –JazzWise, UK

“Victor is the traffic director of a group methodology that surges into the interstellar regions of sound.” –Glenn Astarita,New & Noteworthy Monthly Column, March 2007,

“Taking jazz singing forward with a unique form of expression, Fay Victor delivers with authority. She reaches out with open arms to celebrate the freedom that comes with singing what you feel.” –Jim Santella, Cadence

Cartwheels Through the Cosmos is that rarity amongst contemporary vocal jazz releases: an album that doesn’t rely on a tired repertoire and looks, instead, for innovation in every corner. The beauty of Victor…is her blending of soulful delivery with avant-garde tactics. Her fearless exploration of a myriad of musical nexus points makes Cartwheels Through the Cosmos an album for those who normally stay away from vocal jazz.” –John Kelman,

“I love it. It’s very special what you are doing. It’s a killer band and the whole concept is just fantastic!” –Dave Douglas, Trumpeter Lazy Old Sun

“…but a handful of albums by women including: Gunda Gottschalk’s Wassermonde, Satoko Fujii’s Illusion Suite, Susie Ibarra’s Folklorico and Fay Victor’s Lazy Old Sun earned my unreserved admiration. The first and last in the list were particularly revelatory. Gottschalk’s skills on violin, exhibiting incredible incisiveness in a solitary recital setting, blew my mind. Victor’s European swan song with a crack Dutch combo in tow exposed a vocalist imbued with the best elements of past matriarchs like Abbey Lincoln and Betty Carter with an ear-tilted toward Euro-improv innovations. –Derek Taylor, Dusted Magazine-The Year in Music Feature 2004

“A boldly inventive Betty Carter-Billie Holiday hybrid…the tremendously versatile Victor takes off into all sorts of curiously exciting directions…she’s a real find, a true original.” –Christopher Louden, JazzTimes, March ‘05

Lazy Old Sun puts a fresh new twist on jazz singing…her rich alto and perfect pitch allow the 4tet to play with the fringes of dissonance…it keeps hope alive that something fresh may still be coming for jazz singing. –Phillip McNally, Cadence magazine, March 2005

“Fay Victor is a gifted musician, possessed of flawless intonation, musical imagination, and inventive phrasing … this album deserves a first, a second, and a third listening.” –William Grim,, April 2005

“Unlike so many vocal CD’s on the market, this is a true collaboration. That speaks volumes about Victor’s maturity and confidence, trusting and then delivering on the idea that she can hang with such a solid cast of improvisers(…)LAZY OLD SUN has been in heavy rotation since it arrived(…)It accounts both for the wide technical toolkit she employs (…)and for why this music hits such a poignant spot within the listener. –Charles Walker,, April 2005

“Sounds like a young Betty Carter with a bad case of wanderlust…a live set strong enough to win over all but the most anti-vocal jazz-fans…” –Kurt Gottschalk, Signal to Noise, Spring 2005

“Fay Victor is clearly a singer who holds abstraction and soulfulness in equally high regard…Victor finds the jazz vocal possibilities in everything… (There’s) a lot to admire about LAZY OLD SUN.” –Alex Henderson, All Music Guide, January 2005

“…some intriguing vocalizing…invests every song with such emotional commitment that they all sound like her own originals even if they are an evergreen…the message from this session is clear—check out Fay Victor.” –David Dupont,, November 2004 DARKER THAN BLUE

“She applies freedom and improvisation and constantly attacks her songs from unexpected directions…This is a fine CD from a singer who takes chances.” –Cadence Magazine

“The music is almost self-propelled, sporting a sharp efficiency (…) a certain economy that can only derive from practice and reference. Fay Victor is a thinking persons’ jazz vocalist. –C. Michael Bailey, IN MY OWN ROOM

“4 and a half stars… She bends the lyrics, swings, sings ballads and the blues. Her delivery can be strong, sassy, smokey or sophisticated depending on the musical situation and the musical picture she wants to paint. Fay Victor has all the tools to be a major player in the jazz vocal scene.” –Dave Nathan, All Music Guide

“Fay Victor emphasizing the lyrics as if she wrote them…identifies herself as a worthy addition to a legacy of fine jazz vocalists that are worth hearing.” –Glenn Astarita, All about

“From Miles Davis’ “All Blues” until Cole Porter’s “Everytime We Say Goodbye”, Fay Victor effortlessly puts her own stamp on them…proves jazz is timeless…” –Elegance Magazine, the Netherlands

3361 6th Ave
Troy, 12180 United States
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